Fourth line earns its time - LA Kings Insider

For much of Game 1, the good news for the Kings was that their fourth line was arguably their best line. That was also the bad news for the Kings. For long stretches of the game, the line of Brad Richardson, Colin Fraser and Jordan Nolan seemed to be the only line skating and hitting with any type of consistent intent and aggression. The Kings will need better from their other three lines in Game 2, but they’ll also be thrilled if they get a duplicate performance from Fraser’s line. Nolan, in particular, had an outstanding game — more on him later — and Fraser couldn’t have picked a more opportune time to score his first-ever playoff goal, as he gave the Kings a 1-0 lead in the first period.

Darryl Sutter loves to roll his four lines as much as possible, and Sutter had no problem doing that in Game 1. The effort of the fourth line was appreciated by players such as Jeff Carter.

CARTER: “They were excellent for us. I think they’ve been great, all playoffs long, and they haven’t got really the credit they deserve. We’re hearing a lot about the Devils’ fourth line, but our guys have been just as good. They obviously had a huge goal for us last night, to get us going. They created pressure all night. They probably had, out of all the lines, the most chances out of anybody. So it’s obviously nice to see.’’

Fraser, for instance, had 11 minutes, 28 seconds, of ice time, his highest total of these playoffs. The overtime period factors into that, but Sutter also made a conscious decision to play that line more…

SUTTER: “I think when you have time off, it’s interesting from a coaching standpoint. You think you can shorten your bench because guys are fresher. But really when you have time off, the first thing I could see last night (was), we did have some sluggish guys, and it was at the top end of our skill set, in terms of players. It doesn’t bother me to play — I don’t call them our fourth line, I call it Colin Fraser and whoever is playing with him. So if they’re on, they can play against anybody. If you look at it, the (Fraser) goal last night was against Zajac’s line. You know what, I’m confident whoever is playing with Fraz, as long as they’re doing the job. There’s nights where maybe the other team is playing their top line or their top two lines more and you’ve got to be careful. But at the same time, it’s still about performance and the quality play. (In Game 1 it) worked out.’’

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.